It's been a while since I blogged about myself and my personal 'journey' with Breast Cancer. I'll admit I'm struggling with it more than usual recently. Still? Yes, still.
This past Thursday, was my youngest daughter Lotte's 17th birthday. Many years I have had the honour of being the proudest mum to both my girls. Watching them grow to adulthood, was something I genuinely thought I wouldn't have the chance to experience. Would I even make it to an age that they would remember me? I'm so incredibly lucky and grateful... of course I am.
I was diagnosed with Grade 3 advanced aggressive Breast Cancer (with lymph nodes) when she was just 7 months old. I was breast feeding and felt this small pea sized lump in my right breast. It could so easily have been nothing. But I took her along to see the consultant for the results of my biopsy on that fateful Wednesday surprised when he asked that I'd come alone... but of course I wasn't alone I joked, the baby was with me.
Lotte's first birthday was the day I had my second round of chemotherapy and had started to lose my hair. I was very ill with chemo and I still feel the after effects to this day. My hair loss became a significant life moment inspiring Bold Beanies... which has, in turn, also become a significant part of my life.
But I'm struggling. Finding it hard to still be involved in this world of cancer. Constantly reminded of re-occourrance. I've lost many friends over the years and have friends living with secondaries. I'm continually amazed by the strength of other people.
Everyones experience of this cruel disease if different. Everyone's path to diagnosis is different. Everyones support system is different. Everyone's ability to move on is different. For example, I have never been given the 'All Clear'. I never 'Rang the Bell'. I was told to stay vigilant.
I'm sharing this because maybe it resonates with just one other person and they feel less alone. To know they are understood if they say they feel like they live on borrowed time. When is it my turn again? Am I making the most of every day? Every year? That irrational, rational fear in your head that whispers 'is this it, this time?'
Breast Cancer Awareness Month / October is therefore hard for me. I plead with you all to actually check your breasts once a month, don't just read about it and wear a pink ribbon. If you've had mastectomies, you still need to check (note to self)! My cancer was so aggressive I wouldn't be here today had it not been found early and taken seriously.
I also ask that people be kind and understanding that maybe when you're asking "...but you're ok now?" it's hard to answer. That irrational 5% thought that it could come back is always niggling no matter how positive you are. When I was diagnosed with PTSD I wasn't surprised, but I did expect it to get better. I fear it gets worse with every passing year. I'm finally in a space where I can start to deal with my PTSD and I hope can start to believe in plans for the future.
I would still see my Breast Cancer has a gift as well as a curse in my life (as one of the lucky ones allowed to survive). It's shaped me and given me priorities I'm proud of and I learnt to be strong.
Whatever your experience with Cancer, I wish you peace and kindness, Emilienne xx
Bold Beanies is a small business by my choice and I care about the people and the products. Award winning quality, beautifully designed, stylish, soft, comfy and easy cotton headwear for all. The range has grown from the original Bold Beanies hat to other quality chemotherapy hair loss products including headscarves, head wraps, PICC port sleeves, gorgeous cancer gifts beany posies and bouquets, my book HOPE, bandanas, eco face masks and sleep caps. I love the iconic Liberty prints, the fun prints and offering a rainbow of plain colours. Making a difficult time just a bit better. Sustainable fashion made with care on the borders of Wales and England.
#boldbeanies #breastcancerawareness #cancersurvivor #chemohat #cancerhat #emiliennerebel #breastcancer #checkyourbreasts #ptsd #lifeaftercancer #chemotherapy #mastectomy #piccline #bekind
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